Getting unique and challenging camera angles for your footage can be tricky. But don’t worry—if a shot requires your DSLR camera to be in an inconvenient or hard-to-reach spot, you can control it remotely. Join Robbie and I this week as we explore an app called CamRanger that works with a small transponder device to let you control your DSLR from another location.
Video - Post archive
Remember the Star Destroyer blazing across the screen in the opening of Star Wars? Or Indiana Jones running from a giant rolling boulder in Raiders of the Lost Ark?
The opening moments of a film are crucial for capturing your viewers’ attention and getting them invested in your story from the start—especially on the Internet, where that “next thing” is just a click away. When planning our documentaries, we often put more time and resources into that opening scene than anything else.
As a director for the lynda.com Creative Spark documentary series, I’m lucky to profile designers, photographers, and other artists who have cool creative spaces or exciting creative processes and tools.
But Mike Winkelmann—better known online as Beeple—had none of those.
Grain, shadows, highlights—getting the right film look hinges on how these three elements are handled. Last week we explored how to build film looks in DaVinci Resolve; this week we’ll look at the same process in Adobe SpeedGrade—an excellent color grading tool that’s particularly user–friendly and intuitive. Joining Rich and me again this week is colorist Patrick Inhofer, who’ll walk us through his personal techniques for achieving a film look in SpeedGrade using footage from a recent music video shoot.
In preparation for the 2014 NAB Show, Adobe has begun previewing new features slated for the next release of their video applications. I’ve had a chance to work with the upcoming version of After Effects CC, and I’m working on a new chapter for our After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates course to demonstrate them. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about some of the goodies planned for this release.
Adobe Premiere Pro integration
A main focus of Adobe’s upcoming releases is to strengthen the integration between After Effects and Premiere Pro, making it easier for a Premiere editor to tap into AE’s power. To that end, Adobe is introducing Live Text Templates, allowing you to create a composition (or chain of compositions) that includes text layers; lock the layers you don’t want the editor touching (e.g., the title of a show); and leave the layers you do want them to edit unlocked (such as a name in a lower third). You can then designate the project and this comp as a Template in Composition Settings.
It’s very expensive to shoot with film, but there are ways to create a film look in post–production. DaVinci Resolve and Adobe SpeedGrade are two popular apps you can use to color grade, and create film looks for your footage. Join Robbie and me along with our special guest, colorist Dan Moran, a London-based expert in DaVinci Resolve, as we demonstrate different ways you can use Resolve to transform your digital footage into a stylized film look.
Matte painting is meant to fool the viewer’s eye. It is a special effects technique that combines live-action footage with painted imagery that dates back to 1907— the very dawn of filmmaking. Mattes were originally painted on a sheet of glass, which was suspended in front of the camera. Today, with digital imaging, artists can work in Photoshop, and combine their paintings with a live-action plate in programs such as After Effects, Maya, or Nuke.
The tools and techniques I advocate aren’t just helpful for matte painting, but form the building blocks of all good paintings. If you want to learn the tools and techniques I use for creating a strong digital matte painting, here are five artistic principles to set you on the right path:
We’d all love to work on big-budget video productions where we could shoot any footage we wanted, but in reality many jobs are on small budgets and tight schedules. You may not have the time to get the lighting setup just right, or you have to make do with someone else’s B-roll, or what if you really should have used a tripod or a stabilization rig with that handheld shot? Regardless, your client is expecting you to spin their straw into gold—without hurting the schedule or budget.
We’ve been there, too. That’s why we’ve developed a set of quick-and-easy techniques to enhance the production value of already-shot footage, and distilled them into our latest course, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects: Enhancing Production Value. These techniques—from tinting footage to change the mood or unify a series of unrelated shots, adding a filmic glow, and simple white balancing to compositing lighting effects shot on black, stabilizing handheld shots, and even changing lighting in already-shot scenes— take only a few minutes to learn and execute, with results ranging from subtle to dramatic.
In December, Adobe released another incremental update to its video software, including After Effects CC. As a motion graphics artist, there were a couple of major updates to After Effects features that caught my eye. As a result, I updated my lynda.com After Effects: Creative Cloud Updates course with a new chapter that covers these features. Here’s my quick take on them.